A service centre located at a terminal in Dubai International Airport has experienced an increase of no less than 768% in the number of renewals of United Arab Emirates passports over the course of the last few years, primarily due to the passport’s elevated international ranking and a growing awareness among Emiratis, according to a senior official.
The Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs’ assistant general manager for entry points Colonel Omar Ali Al Shamsi says that UAE citizens who used to travel overseas would renew their passports before they applied for a visa at foreign embassies within the region. However, now that they can travel to as many as 176 different nations without the need for a pre-entry visa, such travel documents do not need to be obtained in advance. Rather than having to visit a passport office solely for the purpose of renewing their passports, Emiratis can now get to the airport a bit earlier and have it renewed within just a couple of minutes prior to setting off on their travels.
Al Shamsi says that this ease has been a big contributing factor to the enormous increase in the number of people renewing their passports at the centre, which is located in terminal three and is the only such facility at a UAE airport that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility also provides visa-related services for foreigners and expatriates in addition to dealing with passport services for Emiratis.
UAE citizens from all seven Emirates are able to renew their passports by visiting the centre and paying a further fee of Dh140 in addition to the regular five-year renewal fee of Dh55. The UAE passport holds the first position in the world in Arton Capital’s Passport Index due to the fact that it is able to give its holder access to no less than 176 nations, with visa-free travel being offered by 117 destinations and 59 offering a visa or e-visa upon the holder arriving at their airport.
The global ranking of the UAE passport also got a big boost in 2015 from the Schengen visa waiver for its citizens. UAE citizens are the first within the Arab world to enjoy such a waiver to Schengen countries, which account for 26 nations and the great majority of Europe. The centre can be easily accessed by the general public as well as travellers. Since its opening in 2014, UAE passport renewals at the centre have increased from 1,715 to as many as 13,168 last year, which is an overall rise of 768%. The first half of this year has already seen the centre process as many as 6,550 passport renewals.
Whether you go to Dubai International Airport to renew your passport or just to travel, you will need to take out travel insurance to protect yourself from the likes of stolen property and illnessif you are going anywhere overseas.